Twelve years ago, Jose was President (similar to mayor) of San Nicolás Buenos Aires, Puebla Mexico, where he had the opportunity to help many people who were in need. But there came a dark period in his life, in which he became an alcoholic. This ultimately resulted in the loss of his friends, his wife and children. He tried Alcoholics Anonymous and it helped some, but he returned to alcohol and lost all respect from his family and friends. He was alone, sick, without friends, and developed diabetes. A few years ago, he met a woman named Araceli, formed a new family, and had two beautiful children. However, because of the diabetes, he was still disillusioned, with no work, no money to eat and no food to feed his family. He pleaded with God, and asked for someone to visit him. It was a desperate need, because he felt lonely.
It was then that the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of Pastor Juan Santiesteban and the church leaders of Leticia de La Luz. They had heard about the HOPE Coffee projects from Abelardo and wanted to share the gospel by meeting a need in their community. They had also heard about Jose Luis and decided to visit him and pray for his family. When they knocked at his door, he broke into tears because God had heard his cry for help. He had never read the Bible, and had thought that “religion” was hypocrisy and never took it seriously. Until now.
Pastor Juan and his church members explained to Jose Luis that their trust in Jesus Christ has given them eternal hope. They also wanted to share that good Message with him and his family as well as meet a physical need for them. During their discussion of what was needed for their home, Jose Luis and his wife asked if a small wall could be built to open up a small store to sell things to their neighbors to help pay for the medical expenses. Pastor Juan and the church were thrilled to share how they were partnering with HOPE Coffee to do such projects and to share how they could have eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.
However, just as the plans were starting to come together to start this project, Jose Luis’ extended family heard that this project was going to be done by evangelical Christians. “No evangelical Christian will ever do work on my house” was the response of Jose Luis’ mother, who owned the house. There was nothing Jose Luis could do. The project was stopped. The work was over. There was nothing left for the church to do.
But they prayed. As they prayed and talked with Jose Luis week after week and walked with him in a Bible Study, Jose Luis began a new journey. For the first time in his life, he felt there was hope. He realized that this hope is only found in Jesus Christ and Jose Luis trusted in Jesus. Where there had been despair, there was hope. Where there had been opposition from family, there was freedom found in Jesus. Where there had been obedience by the church to step out into their community and do something different, they found an open heart to listen to the gospel. There was no project completed; yet a building was built – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:6-9
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.